Astana For a Safe

23rd April 2024

10 Things to Avoid in Astana For a Safe and Smooth Trip!

Want to know the critical things to avoid in Astana? If so, we’ve got you covered.

From our last visit to this place, we learned that avoiding these common pitfalls can truly enhance your Astana experience.

If you’re eager to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture, embrace its linguistic diversity, and explore its seasonal wonders, you’re in the right place!

Astana is a true gem waiting to be discovered, and we’re here to make sure you make the most of your trip without missing a beat.

Get ready to embark on a journey that’s filled with surprises and unforgettable moments – let’s navigate Astana like a local and uncover all its hidden treasures!

Things to Avoid in Astana

1. Ignoring the Weather

Astana’s weather is one of the city’s defining characteristics, and ignoring it can lead to discomfort and inconvenience during your visit. The city experiences extreme temperatures, with winters reaching bone-chilling lows and summers soaring to scorching highs.

Ignoring the weather can result in inadequate clothing, making you susceptible to the harsh elements. To avoid this, it’s crucial to pack wisely and prepare for the weather conditions.

During the winter months, which typically last from December to February, temperatures can plummet to as low as -30°C (-22°F). Snowfall is common during this time, creating picturesque winter landscapes but also posing challenges for outdoor activities.

On the other hand, the summer months (June to August) bring temperatures exceeding 30°C (86°F) and occasional thunderstorms. Proper attire and hydration are essential to cope with the heat and humidity.

To make the most of your trip to Astana, research the weather forecast and plan your wardrobe accordingly. Dress in layers during the colder months to stay warm and bundle up with hats, gloves, and scarves.

In the summer, opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics to stay comfortable. By acknowledging and preparing for the weather, you can fully enjoy your time in Astana and explore its attractions without any weather-related hindrances.

2. Disrespecting Local Customs

As with any travel destination, respecting the local customs and traditions is essential when visiting Astana. Kazakhstan, and Astana in particular, is known for its warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage.

Disregarding or disrespecting these customs can lead to misunderstandings and potentially create a negative impression.

One crucial aspect of respecting local customs is greeting people appropriately. In Kazakhstan, a handshake is a common form of greeting, and it is often accompanied by direct eye contact and a smile.

When entering someone’s home or a religious site, removing your shoes is a sign of respect. It’s also customary to bring a small gift, like flowers or sweets, when invited to someone’s home.

Kazakhstan has two official languages, Kazakh and Russian. While English is widely spoken in major tourist areas, making an effort to learn some basic phrases in Kazakh or Russian can go a long way in fostering meaningful connections with locals.

Simple greetings like “Salemetsiz be” (hello in Kazakh) or “Zdravstvuyte” (hello in Russian) and “Rakhmet” (thank you in both languages) are appreciated and show your respect for the local culture.

Additionally, dress modestly when visiting religious sites or attending formal events to adhere to local customs and show cultural sensitivity. In Kazakhstan, punctuality is highly valued, so arriving on time for appointments and meetings is essential.

By respecting these customs and traditions, you will not only have a more pleasant experience but also leave a positive impression on the friendly people of Astana.

3. Overlooking Top Attractions

Astana is a city brimming with captivating attractions and architectural wonders, and overlooking them would be missing out on some of the city’s most defining features.

From iconic landmarks to historical sites, Astana offers a diverse array of must-see places that embody the city’s progress and cultural heritage.

One of the top attractions in Astana is the Baiterek Tower, an awe-inspiring monument symbolizing the city’s aspirations and growth. With its striking design and panoramic views, the tower offers a unique perspective of Astana’s skyline.

Similarly, the Independence Square, also known as Mustaqillik Square, holds historical significance as a testament to Kazakhstan’s journey to freedom and sovereignty.

Another attraction not to be missed is the Astana Opera House, an architectural gem and a cultural hub for world-class performances. The opera house showcases the city’s dedication to the arts and provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of music and theater.

Exploring the city’s museums and galleries is another way to delve into Astana’s rich cultural heritage. From the National Museum of Kazakhstan to the Kazakh Eli Monument, these sites offer insights into the country’s history and artistic achievements.

With its blend of modernity and tradition, Astana has something to offer every traveler. Overlooking these top attractions means missing out on the heart and soul of the city.

To make the most of your visit, create an itinerary that includes these iconic sites, allowing you to fully appreciate the dynamic and enchanting atmosphere of Astana.

4. Skipping Local Cuisine

One of the most delightful aspects of traveling is exploring the local cuisine, and skipping out on the culinary delights of Astana would be a missed opportunity.

Kazakhstan’s traditional dishes offer a unique and flavorful experience that reflects the nation’s cultural heritage and nomadic roots.

Beshbarmak, a popular Kazakh dish, is a must-try for any food enthusiast. It consists of boiled meat (usually lamb or horse meat) served with wide noodles and accompanied by onions and broth.

This hearty and savory dish is a symbol of hospitality and celebration in Kazakhstan and is often shared among friends and family.

Another traditional dish not to be missed is Kazy, a unique sausage made from horse meat. While it might be unconventional for some, trying Kazy is a chance to immerse yourself in the local cuisine and embrace the culinary traditions of the region.

Apart from traditional fare, Astana also offers a diverse range of dining options, including international cuisines and fusion dishes. Exploring the city’s vibrant food scene allows you to experience the culinary diversity and creativity that Astana has to offer.

To fully savor the local cuisine, consider dining at traditional Kazakh restaurants or seeking recommendations from locals for hidden gems. Embrace the adventurous spirit and try dishes you may not find anywhere else.

By skipping the local cuisine, you would be missing out on a flavorful journey that is sure to be a highlight of your visit to Astana.

5. Overpaying in Markets

As a bustling and vibrant city, Astana offers various markets and shopping opportunities, and overpaying for goods would be an avoidable mistake.

Whether you’re shopping for souvenirs, handicrafts, or fresh produce, it’s essential to practice your bargaining skills to get the best value for your money.

One of the most renowned markets in Astana is the Green Bazaar, a centuries-old market where you can find an array of products, from fruits and vegetables to spices and textiles.

While the market offers a fascinating glimpse into the local culture and traditions, it’s essential to be cautious and avoid overpaying for items.

When shopping in the markets, take the time to compare prices and don’t hesitate to negotiate with vendors for a better deal. Engaging in friendly banter and bargaining is customary in many markets in Kazakhstan, and vendors may appreciate your efforts to strike a fair deal.

While bargaining, it’s essential to be respectful and understanding of the vendors’ livelihoods. Finding a balance between a fair price and supporting local businesses is key to a successful shopping experience.

In addition to traditional markets, Astana also boasts modern shopping centers and boutiques where you can find a variety of products.

Whether you’re shopping for souvenirs or everyday items, being a savvy shopper and avoiding overpayment will enhance your overall experience and leave you with cherished mementos of your time in Astana.

6. Relying Only on Credit Cards

Astana, the vibrant capital of Kazakhstan, offers an array of modern amenities and convenience, but solely relying on credit cards can lead to some pitfalls.

While many upscale establishments, hotels, and restaurants in Astana accept credit cards, smaller shops, local markets, and public transportation may prefer cash payments.

Carrying cash provides the flexibility to explore hidden gems and indulge in delicious street food, enhancing the authenticity of your experiences.

Using credit cards in a foreign country may also incur additional fees, such as foreign transaction charges or currency conversion fees. To avoid surprises, it’s essential to inform your bank about your travel plans and inquire about any associated costs.

Additionally, not all places may have readily available card payment facilities, especially in more traditional neighborhoods, so having cash on hand ensures you don’t miss out on unique local experiences.

To make the most of your journey in Astana, strike a balance between credit cards and cash.

While credit cards provide security and convenience for larger expenses, carrying cash allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture, explore local markets, and interact with friendly locals in a more seamless manner.

7. Neglecting Public Transport

Astana is a sprawling city with diverse attractions scattered across its landscape. Neglecting the efficient and accessible public transportation system can result in missing out on the full spectrum of experiences the city has to offer.

Astana’s public transport includes buses, trams, and a modern metro system, providing convenient and cost-effective options for navigating the city.

By neglecting public transport, you might limit yourself to a smaller area of the city and miss the opportunity to explore its vibrant neighborhoods and cultural landmarks.

Opting for taxis or ride-hailing services exclusively can also be costlier and may result in traffic delays during peak hours.

The metro, in particular, is an excellent way to travel quickly between different parts of the city, allowing you to efficiently visit multiple attractions in a single day.

The bus and tram networks cover various routes, providing access to popular tourist spots and lesser-known gems. Investing in a contactless smart card for public transport will save you time and money, as it can be used across buses, trams, and the metro.

Embrace the convenience of public transport in Astana, as it not only facilitates sightseeing but also offers glimpses into the daily lives of the city’s residents.

By using the city’s comprehensive transportation network, you’ll have the freedom to explore the city’s dynamic facets and create lasting memories of your Astana adventure.

8. Avoiding Local Language

While English is spoken in some establishments in Astana, embracing the local languages, Kazakh and Russian, can significantly enrich your travel experience.

Avoiding the local language might lead to missed opportunities for genuine interactions with the hospitable Kazakh people and limit your understanding of the city’s cultural nuances.

Learning a few basic phrases in Kazakh and Russian showcases respect for the local culture and shows that you value the efforts to bridge language barriers.

Simple greetings like “Salemetsiz be” for hello in Kazakh or “Zdravstvuyte” in Russian can go a long way in breaking the ice and making locals feel appreciated.

Moreover, mastering essential phrases like “thank you” (Rakhmet in Kazakh and Spasibo in Russian) will leave a positive impression and brighten the spirits of those you encounter.

It’s a heartwarming gesture that fosters meaningful connections and opens doors to authentic cultural experiences.

The locals’ warmth and friendliness extend even further when you make an effort to communicate in their language.

In Astana’s markets, shops, and eateries, the knowledge of Kazakh and Russian can be particularly helpful in bargaining, understanding menus, and navigating daily interactions.

Remember that language is a powerful bridge to connect with the heart of a city and its people. By embracing the linguistic diversity of Astana, you’ll find yourself immersed in the warmth of its culture and forging memories that last a lifetime.

9. Disregarding Hotel Choices

Selecting the right accommodation is pivotal to ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay in Astana. Disregarding hotel choices and hastily booking accommodations without research may lead to a less-than-ideal experience.

Astana offers a diverse range of lodging options, catering to various preferences and budgets. While luxurious five-star hotels provide opulence and impeccable services, budget-friendly hostels and mid-range hotels offer comfort without breaking the bank.

Ignoring your accommodation needs might result in overpaying for services you don’t require or sacrificing comfort for affordability.

One crucial factor to consider is location. Choose accommodation that aligns with your itinerary and preferences. Staying in the city center or near popular attractions allows easy access to key sites, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

On the other hand, opting for a quieter neighborhood can provide a more relaxed ambiance for a restful stay.

Reviews and recommendations from fellow travelers are valuable resources for evaluating hotel options. Take the time to read about others’ experiences to make informed decisions and select lodging that suits your travel style.

Booking in advance is advisable, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred hotel and potentially enjoy discounted rates.

Spontaneous travelers might find themselves with limited choices or higher prices due to increased demand during peak times.

By carefully considering hotel choices, you can ensure that your accommodation complements your Astana experience. A well-chosen hotel becomes a welcoming home away from home, enhancing your exploration of this captivating city.

10. Missing Seasonal Wonders

Astana’s unique charm extends throughout the year, and missing the city’s seasonal wonders would be a missed opportunity for a well-rounded experience. The capital of Kazakhstan showcases distinct beauty and events in each season, offering a diverse range of experiences for every traveler.

Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) herald mild weather and pleasant temperatures, making these seasons ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Spring brings blossoming parks and colorful flora, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploring the city’s architectural marvels.

Similarly, autumn graces Astana with a kaleidoscope of foliage, offering stunning photo opportunities and a chance to witness the city’s parks transforming into vibrant havens.

Winter (December to February) in Astana transforms the city into a winter wonderland, with snow-covered landscapes and festive decorations. Embrace the chilly weather and partake in winter sports like ice skating or sledding for a joyful winter adventure.

Summer (June to August) in Astana can be hot, with temperatures rising above 30°C (86°F).

Despite the heat, this season is an exciting time to immerse yourself in the city’s cultural scene, with a multitude of outdoor events, festivals, and concerts taking place. Summer nights come alive with music and entertainment, offering a vibrant energy that’s hard to resist.

To make the most of your visit, plan your trip according to your preferences and interests.

Whether you’re captivated by spring blooms, captivated by winter magic, or drawn to summer festivities, embracing Astana’s seasonal variations ensures you experience the city’s diverse personality in all its splendor.

Conclusion -Things to Avoid in Astana

In conclusion, navigating Astana requires embracing its diverse facets. From respecting local customs to savoring traditional cuisine, it’s about immersing in the heart of Kazakhstan’s vibrant capital.

Seasonal wonders, public transport, and language etiquette enhance your journey.

So, pack wisely, bargain in markets, and choose the perfect hotel. By avoiding common pitfalls, you’ll relish an unforgettable adventure, discovering the hidden treasures and cultural tapestry of Astana.

Let this dynamic city enthrall you with its charm, leaving you with cherished memories and a desire to return. Happy exploring!

FAQs – Things to Avoid in Astana

Is it true that the weather in Astana can be extreme?

Absolutely! Astana experiences freezing winters with temperatures as low as -30°C and scorching summers exceeding 30°C. So, pack accordingly for your trip to stay comfortable in any season.

Do I really need to learn the local language before visiting Astana?

While English is spoken in some places, knowing a few basic phrases in Kazakh and Russian goes a long way. Locals appreciate the effort, and it can lead to more authentic interactions.

Are there any top attractions I should avoid overlooking?

Definitely! Astana has iconic landmarks like the Baiterek Tower and Independence Square that you shouldn’t miss. These places reflect the city’s progress and cultural heritage.

Can I use credit cards everywhere in Astana?

While some places accept credit cards, it’s best to have cash on hand for smaller shops and local markets. It also helps you enjoy the city’s hidden gems and street food.

Is public transport reliable in Astana?

Yes, Astana offers an efficient public transport system with buses, trams, and a modern metro. It’s a great way to explore the city’s diverse attractions and neighborhoo

Are there any customs I should be aware of to avoid disrespecting locals?

Absolutely! Greeting with a handshake and removing shoes at religious sites are important customs. Learning “hello” and “thank you” in Kazakh and Russian is appreciated.

Should I book accommodation in advance for Astana?

Yes, especially during peak tourist seasons, booking in advance is wise. Choose accommodations based on location and reviews to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
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